Supernatural: Reload

By October 13th, 2010

Another great guest post by Amy Berner, who you may remember from her Undercovers post last week.

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I feel kind of bad for Supernatural right now. Not only has this perpetually-underrated show been relegated to Fridays, it also has to start itself back up after a season finale five years in the making. I mean, a proxy battle between the Archangel Michael and Lucifer on which the world’s survival hinged is a tough act to follow, don’t you think?

Supernatural was built to be a five season (expanded from an original three-season) story, and the finale of the fifth season was everything I could have wanted from a series finale. The last shot notwithstanding, I was completely satisfied with where the characters ended up: Dean leaving the life of a hunter behind, Sam giving his life to save the world and truly embracing the hunter life he’d railed against, and Bobby and Castiel restored, all with the Impala taking center stage. It was … beautiful, really.  I can imagine Dean cringing as I say that, but it’s true.

The creator and creative force of the show, Eric Kripke, is still involved but no longer runs the show. He has told his story. The reins have been turned over to Sera Gamble, one of its long-time producers and main writers. Most of the creative team is still intact. They’ve woven together folklore, religion, and mythology to create a deep, rich world that, as it often does on shows like this, almost ended. So, where to now, guys?

I like the idea that they are diving back into folklore and the monsters we find there. I’ve enjoyed their foray into Christian mythology, but I think that has been sufficiently explored in the last few seasons. I’m excited to see where they take the folklore road. And I’m fine with Sam and Samuel’s return to the mortal coil since death has never hampered the Winchesters all that much. But after watching the first two episodes, I do have two main concerns:

  1. Sam.* The shows works best when the brothers work in concert, but yet again, Sam is hiding things from Dean. He’s done this before. It has never, ever worked out. I understand that part of his motivation was keeping Dean happily out of the hunter life, but hiding his return from hell and then lying to him? Really, Sam? Especially since Dean spent some time down there himself? I don’t mind conflict between the brothers because, hey, they are brothers, but secretive-Sam isn’t the way to go. I hope this is short-lived, because Sam knows better. I have to believe that Sam is under orders and Dean wouldn’t like the Campbell Plan all that much, but keeping the brothers separate has never helped the show.
  2. The Campbell clan. I’m thrilled to see Mitch Pileggi in, well, pretty much anything, so it’s great to have him back as Samuel. I’m also pleased to see Corin Nemec. But family members acting as a clan of hunters that the Winchesters never knew about and never crossed paths with? We pretty much know they aren’t on the up-and-up, but were they really that far off the grid? I’ll go with it, but it’s pushing the limits of credibility (even for Supernatural) a smidge. The revelation about their can’t-be-good deeds had better balance that out.

While I have those concerns, I’m still glad that new episodes of Supernatural exist. I enjoy the cast, and no show pokes fun at itself, the genre, the medium, and its fans more cleverly than they do. Plus, I respect how they can balance so many styles, ranging from horror to comedy to thriller from episode to episode while keeping the core of the show constant. And I love the Impala. Still, I don’t think the sixth season road is starting out all that smoothly. Not yet, anyway, and it’s too early in the new regime’s tenure to pass judgment yet. Plus, honestly? I’m just glad to have the Winchester boys back in action.

*I find it interesting that when the show began, Sam was the character the audience had to help them through the world of Supernatural. He originally was the law school student who tried to stay apart from the very weird family business; in other words, the regular guy. Now, Sam is the “other” and Dean is our ticket in. Neat, huh?

What do you think of Supernatural this (sixth) season? (And for those who may not know about it, check out our Supernatural anthology, In the Hunt, today.)

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